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  • Badge Question

    Hey everyone! I stumbled across your board recently and have found it to be informative and very interesting. I have a question regarding badges I was hoping I could get some insight on.

    First of all, I am a Youth Corrections Officer at the state level in Arizona. Though we were sworn into office by a judge, we are not considered sworn peace officers like some other CO's in different states. Our status than is just "State Officer".

    I noticed a link to www.officerstore.com from this site, and saw you could make custom badges. Some of the Officers in our department do have normal silver badges, but most of us just have a plastic ID card. The ones that have badges are no higher ranked than us, but only get them because they are on security detail, as opposed to line staff. We are all entitled to badges, but because the state is cheap, only some have gotten some so far.

    I was wondering if it would be okay legally for me to customize a badge for myself. It would simply say on it "Officer" "State of Arizona". I would not put anything about my dept. on it--it would be very generic. I would not wear it to work or anything. Also, I am not trying to impersonate a cop here, I am legally an Officer so the info. put on the badge would be correct. Whenever people find out I am a YCO, they ask to see a badge, and it would be nice to be able to show them one. But, the main thing here is that this would not be issued by my dept, so is this okay for me to have?

    This would pretty much be the same idea as a Firefighters symbol stickered on the back of a car. Nothign specific, just a honest symbol of what I am proud of doing for a living.

    What do you guys think? Thanks in advance,

    Last edited by Doug92004; 12-04-2004, 05:58 AM.

  • #2
    I dunno man, whatever makes you happy I guess. I'm of the opinion that anyone who needs to convince others of their need for a badge has no need for a badge.


    • #3
      Re: Badge Question

      Originally posted by Doug92004
      But, the main thing here is that this would not be issued by my dept, so is this okay for me to have?
      That's something you need to find out from one of your superiors. Find out what you agency's policy is on badges before you go ordering anything. You might not even be allowed to carry one. Good rule of thumb - if you're not sure, ASK. It will keep you out of hot water.
      If it wasn't for STUPID PEOPLE I'd be unemployed.


      • #4
        Carrying a law enforcement badge w/o a weapon might not be a good idea. Should your wallet be taken in a robbery, you'd be an attractive target...and this has happened more than once. In fact, an LA County deputy sheriff was murdered during a robbery that occurred in OC some five or more years ago while he was in his girlfriend's beauty shop. During a robbery, gangbanger punks ID'd him as a cop and killed him.

        To this day, I never carry a badge w/o a gun. In fact, when I was an active duty cop I only carried my ID card, and it was buried deep in my very civilian-looking wallet. If I were to ID myself off-duty to a person who might question my status because I did not have a badge, I would not give a ****. I would never carry a badge off-duty because it might comfort another.

        My status as a cop was never questioned. Thankfully, I never had to make an off-duty arrest; however, I was a good witness a time or two. Responding officers were more than capable of explaining my status to inquiring minds.

        Think carefully about how you proceed here: the advice given by another poster about checking with your agency was extremely sound. I'd follow it.

        Stay safe,



        • #5
          Badge Question.

          Doug, I'm not knocking your job, or your status, but why not apply to an agency where the issue of badge wouldn't be an issue? In the meantime, I suggest you check with one of your supervisor's regarding your question. We could all tell you, "go ahead and order it", and if that was the wrong advice, none of us could help you.


          • #6
            First, I would check with your department and see if they have a policy prohibiting you from having a personal badge made (believe it or not, some agencies still prohibit it) or if they have a policy prohibiting you from carrying a badge unless you are in one of the authorized positions you mentioned.

            Throughout my career I've come across a number of folks with vague, generic badges that have titles like "officer" and "state of such and such" without identifying the specific agency in question. To another cop, this is a red flag as real badges tend to have specific ranks like police officer, patrol officer, corrections officer, and they always have the agency name. After all, why would you want to identify yourself as an officer but not give your agency name? I've found that in most cases, vague generic badges were usually possessed by impersonators or wannabees who were on the wrong side of the law to begin with. While your status could always be verified by a couple of phone calls to your agency, do you really want to subject yourself to that kind of scrutiny?

            If there is no prohibition against having a personal badge made, I would merely duplicate the official badge. Any deviation, especially if you wind up working with someone who has been issued a real badge, could cause others to question which is the real badge, which is the real officer, or are you both a couple of impersonators? Something like this happened to me about 30 years ago when I was helping a fellow officer move into his new apartment. Apparently we looked like someone the local PD had an interset in and two of their patrol cars stopped to check us out. We immediately ID ourselves as cops. However, at the time it was the policy of my department to issue one style badge for my rank (a really nice seven point gold star) and a completely different style badge for my buddy's rank (an ugly, silver, heart shaped shield). This turned a one minute encounter into something much longer because the badge discrepancy made them suspect we wern't really cops.

            FWIW, my current agency's badge is not the prettiest one in town. However, if I had one made up of my own design and then started displaying it, I would be in a bit of trouble with my bosses.
            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


            • #7
              If your ageny didn't issue a badge then they probably don't think you need one. Why do you think you need one?
              Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.


              • #8
                A Badge that has no authority will only get you in trouble real quick. So forget it and just get a real leo job


                • #9
                  Originally posted by PC August
                  I'm of the opinion that anyone who needs to convince others of their need for a badge has no need for a badge.
                  then you'd be ok with an unmarked pulling you over and addressing you with out seeing some tin?

                  Originally posted by Bodie
                  So forget it and just get a real leo job[/B]
                  ouch. bodie woke up on the wrong side of his partner's bed.

                  seriously Doug...they won't sell you a badge unless you provide them proper documentation. in your case that's something stating that you work for your department. some sort of offical document or id card.

                  and sorry for the 'friendly' welcome. some of us recognise that you do a job that's pretty helpful to society as well. we can't all be dirty harry and we can all be as hairy as bodie. :-)


                  • #10
                    A few questions:

                    Why would someone ask to see your badge if you are a CO? You have no authority outside the jail, so why would they need to see a badge? Also, why would you put just officer on it when you know that would be misleading to someone you're showing your badge off to? You're not a police officer, why just put officer? CO's badges usually say correction officer on them. Put that if you want to.

                    One other thing I thought of, to me, being able to have a badge is part of the reward of all the hard work I have put into getting to where I am at. It wouldn't mean the same if I could just go buy one since I "can legally be called an officer".

                    Do it like everyone else and work for your badge, put in the hours of hard work, the disappointment of not getting a call back, the countless hours of testing, so that when you do get it, it actually means something.


                    • #11
                      I totally agree with Bodie. If you need one they would have given you one and would have no doubts. It can only get you in a ton of s**t.
                      Stay safe and watch your back. Survived Katrina. Now a Official member of the Chocolate City Police.


                      • #12
                        If your department didn't issue you one then you don't need it.
                        When I see the sea once more, will the sea have seen or not seen me?


                        • #13
                          they tell the truth.


                          • #14
                            I would hold off on getting the badge. Wait for the state to get you one. Nobody ever asks to see my badge if they find out that I am a cop.
                            www.traffic enforcement.org


                            • #15
                              Thank you for the replies, they are much appreciated. I now have a better understanding of what a badge represents, and the legality of carrying it around. I officially will not be buying or customizing one for myself.

                              I spoke to a supervisor of mine, and got some feedback regarding why giving them out isn't the norm. Unlike the DOC which focuses on punative and authoritative measures, my position is more social work than anything else. It has more of a "soft" feel to it, and the focus is primarily on rehabilitation of the kids through education and job skill programs. As a result, they don't want us looking like cops or correction officers, instead they want us to look like care providers-hence no badge.

                              Again, thanks for the replies. I'm glad I asked because I now understand that I could have gotten myself in trouble. Plus, I sort of see that doing this would be assanine and poser-like, even if that honestly wasn't my intention.


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